MEMBERS of a residents' association have received recognition for their efforts to improve their community.

The Furness, Cameron and Belk (FCB) Residents' Association, in Hartlepool, was presented with a Making a Difference Award by famous botanist Dr David Bellamy.

The award recognises successful volunteer-led projects, and the FCB was singled out for its work on a number of issues.

The association has been working with landlords in the area to improve rented properties.

It has also set up a letting agency, helped to drive drug dealers out of the area, created a community garden, put up hanging baskets and campaigned successfully for better security.

The residents received a £500 Neighbourhood Renewal Fund (NRF) grant from the Safer Hartlepool Partnership and also received support from Hartlepool Borough Council's Pride in Hartlepool campaign and the Community Chest.

Dr Bellamy said: "I have been presenting these awards for seven years, and they get better and better every year."

Julie Hetherington, secretary of the FCB group, said: "Our residents' association has shown true community spirit by working together to improve the area.

"The NRF grant from the Safer Hartlepool Partnership certainly helped us."

NRF grants of up to £500 are available to residents' associations or community groups in the NRF area that want to help in the fight against crime.

The NRF area covers the St Hilda's, Brus, Dyke House, Stranton, Grange, Burn Valley, Foggy Furze, Rift House, Owton, Fens and Rossmere wards of Hartlepool.